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Mythographical topography, textual materiality and the (dis)ordering of myth: the case of Antoninus Liberalis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2020

Charles Delattre
Université de Lille and Australian National University*
Greta Hawes
Université de Lille and Australian National University*


This article introduces a new analytical framework, ‘mythographic topography’. This approach recognizes the materiality of mythographic writing as preserved by the manuscript tradition and the significance of the spatial dynamics it produces. Mythographic topography encompasses both the formal properties of textual organization and how these shape the reader’s imaginative experience of space and narrative. As an analytical framework, it involves interrogating a text according to three categories (each an ancient meaning of topos): its arrangement of textual passages, its use of space and its activation of narrative tropes. Using the Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis as a case study, we demonstrate how this text requires the reader to consider issues of order, disorder and reordering within a culturally familiar narrative paradigm.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

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* and This article is part of the Australian Research Council-funded project ‘The spatial dynamics of myth in Pausanias’ Periegesis’ (DE170101251) and of the research theme ‘Sources, traditions et receptions de l’Antiquite’ (Universite de Lille, CNRS, Ministere de la Culture, UMR 8164-HALMA-Histoire Archeologie Litterature des Mondes Anciens, F-59000 Lille, France). We thank Julia Kindt and Anna Lefteratou for their comments on earlier drafts.